What was your path in the superyacht industry?
I was lucky: I grew up by the sea on the South coast of the UK, and all his life was connected with water. Since childhood, sailing, Canoeing, scuba diving. Then I was in the Navy, was captain of a ship, and then came in the yachting industry, where he also worked as a captain, took part in the management of the construction of the courts, representing the interests of the owner. In this business I have 13 years and I like it very much. Two of my business partner, with whom we founded Fusion Marine Systems, have significant experience of implementation of modern technologies on superyachts and in private residences. Together we strive to approach tasks with the user’s position, that is to pick the specifications and design of the system as needed, and not as convenient to us or to someone else.
How typical, when the owners of super yachts want to equip on-Board office to remotely take over the business? Is there a trend here?
Yes, we definitely see this trend, and it is associated with common business processes. What sings Dolly parton song “9 to 5” is in the past: yacht crews do not know what working day from nine in the morning until five in the evening. In recent years, many owners are leaving from work on land-based business centers, understanding that can make productive use of your yacht not only for leisure, but as multi-tasking office, providing the ability to remotely resolve all issues. And in General in society, more and more people are moving to work remotely with a flexible schedule and coworking.
But the yacht, unlike a business jet, is perceived solely as a means for recreation and entertainment?
This stereotype is changing and people understand that if you equip the boat of water “toys”, but modern communication tools that will flawlessly work, it is embedded in the tools for business management. Of course, for different types of businesses can create the right atmosphere: those who are engaged in electronic exchange transactions, you need a very fast and reliable tool for transactions, and if the work is more concerned with meetings and conferences, it is necessary to meet the specific parameters for the camera, speakers and microphones. In addition, the Board can hold meetings of Directors, and then will need to turn in office, for example, the dining room. Therefore, the primary task Fusion Marine Systems is to find out customer needs and understand the specifics of their business to offer the optimal solution, since no single universal answer to this question does not exist.
Is there a link between the presence of office on the Board, and the length of the vessel?
And here we do not see any connection. Owners of yachts with a length of 30 m and above — a successful business that you want to be able to solve their problems on Board. Another thing is that on smaller yachts are more common multifunctional space can be used as an office, cinema or office. Usually they are part of the corridor, which both sides can be isolated with doors into a separate room. Television screens there’s usually also multifunctional: you can, for example, to see a movie or to apply for a job as divided into zones monitor.
Often the office, the yacht is part of the master cabin. How justified and whether such an arrangement?
In my opinion, with all convenience multifunctional rooms, an apartment with a bedroom primarily a place for rest, not office area: they have different purposes, and they feel different. So I wouldn’t set up shop in his cabin and picked another place where you can be alone to work.
What are the characteristics of the equipment typically found in the office on the boat?
The most important thing is to design the office regarding the technology used. This includes selection of suitable screens, network equipment with the necessary customer functions, etc. Before we were dealing with 2D communication, involving the transmission of image and voice. Three or four years ago, to this were added the function of sharing data (3D), and now we are already talking about 4D, where there is an opportunity not only to share data but also to work together in real-time.
We can install on the boat and in the office of the owner on land touch screens with high resolution (4K), which is convenient to simultaneously write and share information as if all participants were in the same room. At the same time during a videoconference, people need to feel part of the team, to see the reaction of all the interlocutors, and it is very important the position and the type of cameras they should be looking in the right direction and broadcast information.
Then the microphones and the acoustics in the room: a man talking in the headset or in the workplace, fit to near-field microphones that don’t record external noise. But if he, like me, prefer to go at this time around the room or along with it there are a few people, you need microphones in the far field. All that is required to competently build in the atmosphere and make for intuitive operation.
In addition, it is important not to forget about the software: it should be simple, intuitive and user friendly. For example, Microsoft developed the Office 365 interactive mode of operation and functions of the traditional office programs: 15 million users can’t be wrong, so no need for us to invent something from scratch if the market is available for such software. We find and optimize it under “hardware” in accordance with the requirements of the customer.
Finally, it is necessary to properly organize streams of data to find satellite and cellular communication channels to achieve fast and stable transmission of information — in fact a little like if before the conclusion of an electronic transaction will lose you. It might cost millions or even billions of euros, so when choosing a provider it is important to make sure that he understands the requirements of the client requirements and is able to provide reliable productive secure connection with terrestrial nodes near the specified business center on the land. The demand for broadband is constantly growing, and on the horizon appear extremely interesting technology. A striking example — the grouping of low-orbit satellites (LEO), which will provide one hundred percent coverage of the planet. In addition to reduced latency, the network will exceed the existing 4G and 5G in terms of bandwidth and data transfer costs, which will be lower by 3-4 times.
Getting to the design and construction of superyachts, the possibility of using the technology of the future must be provided in advance…
If only I could see into the future! For such system integrators as Fusion Marine Systems, it is important to constantly interact with OEMs to closely monitor the emergence of advanced developments and what is happening in this area. We always design systems with excess, leaving a margin for growth, which inevitably required when it comes to new technology. Therefore used on Board the basic elements and cables should be the most modern at the time of installation, and the racks should remain enough free space. In addition, you always need to provide a duplicating system, especially in the case of office on the Board: if a piece of equipment suddenly fails, the performance of the system needs to be restored as soon as possible. All these factors constitute a so-called test of relevance over time (future-proofing), which is often said in the industry.
Do you take care of cyber security office on the boat, or this problem is solved by others?
Of course, we take, after all Fusion Marine Systems is a technology provider, which implies it is the full package. About cybersecurity, it is necessary to think not when starting to use the equipment, and even in the design stage when it is necessary to ensure the physical protection of cables, routers and access points. Here, too, it is very important to understand the specifics of customer’s business to anticipate potential vulnerabilities. We also provide staff training, since the human factor is one of the weaknesses of cybersecurity, is involved in the vast majority of successful cyber attacks.
Do you offer remote administration and service systems on Board?
We always strive to build with customer long term relationship and is ready to provide round the clock support anywhere, wherever the yacht. We have partnered with Bond Technology Management, which has built a well-developed network of professional IT engineers who are always ready to help.
Returning to the question of multifunctionality of the office on a yacht: how it can be used in free from work time?
For example, as a classroom for distance learning. More and more yacht owners take in children or grandchildren to show them the world and real life, because we all know that it flows outside of school. A yacht gives you the opportunity to go to new places, and on Board you can not only organize the office and school: those touch screens that perform the function of a work table, an easel, a drawing or a school Board; standard software, interactive learning technology and the ability to connect one or more teachers. For the younger generation of owners training of children in such circumstances is perfectly normal.